If you are new to the Windows Azure platform, you might want to understand about it in a staged and phased way.

This post gives you a roadmap of the content (written and video) that already exists on the Internet. You can go through the content, piece-by-piece and gradually understand the motivation for Azure, the architectural principles and eventually end up building and deploying your own application to the Windows Azure cloud.

If you are already experienced with Windows Azure, you might want to understand the new features which were announced at the Professional Developers Conference in November. This post will help you get up to speed.

 

Read the Wikipedia definition of Cloud Computing. There is no agreed definition but most of them incorporate these ideas and this is as good a description as any. Some will disagree, most will agree. This is a good place to get you started.

Watch Ray Ozzie’s talk at the 2009 Microsoft Professional Developers Conference describe the 3 screens and a cloud strategy that underpins all of Microsoft’s cloud efforts.
Watch this video, where the notion of Software + Services  or S+S is described.
Watch this video which highlights the benefits of Windows Azure.
Watch this video which describes the whole Windows Azure platform in less than 5 minutes.
Watch this video which describes Windows Azure in less than 5 minutes.
Watch this video which describes SQL Azure in less than 5 minutes.
Watch this video which describes Windows Azure Application Fabric (App Fab) in less than 5 minutes.
Read David Chapell’s Whitepaper on Windows Azure (updated since the 2010 PDC). It’s the first link at this location.
Watch this video which gives a peek inside a Microsoft datacentre.
Watch this video with Doug Hauger, the commercial General Manager of Windows Azure in which he describes how the Windows Azure business plan was created.
Watch this video as Doug Hauger answers a few of the tougher questions around things like pricing and large bills.
In preparation for the next video, sign up for a free Windows Azure account. If you are an MSDN Ultimate/Premium subscriber use this link. Otherwise use this link.
Watch this video as David Lemphers gives a lap around Windows Azure and shows you how to get started writing Windows Azure applications and how to deploy them to the cloud. To get access to the code in the demos go here. You can use the free subscription you created above to deploy his demo app.

You can learn more at the Windows Azure platform portal.